Falling into Financial Lessons: Black Friday Brings Me Back to Reality

Long time, no blog.

Why?! Because I fugged up.

My thoughts of having a No Spend September turned into Spend-A-Lot September, bled into Off-The-Chain October and settled into Need-to-Chill November. LOL! I’m laughing now because I feel a bit more settled.

Here’s an update into what I planned in September:

  • I planned a friend’s birthday party. The cost I was supposed to split with another person was not reimbursed. Oh, well. Gotta let it go because the cost was minimal.
  • I didn’t end up going to that concert out of town, so I “saved” $25.
  • I went out of state to celebrate a friend’s achievement in October and took $200 out of my savings. I haven’t replenished that yet.
  • I planned to attend two homecomings, but ended up going to four. I cut costs by attending a free concert at my grad school’s homecoming and accepted a friend’s generosity to stay at her home at my undergraduate homecoming. (Love her!)
  • I also caught 2-for-1 sale after 2-for-1 sale on clothes and racked up. Love the clothes, but I went overboard. No doubt.

Then on Black Friday, I discovered that I got hit big time by my car repair credit card. I didn’t pay off the entire $1,000+ plus bill before the 6-month deadline. The interest rate jumped up from 0 percent to 29.99 percent. The interest charged almost made me pass out. I learned an important lesson for sure. Do all you can to pay off those promotional purchases before the interest kicks in. It’s not worth it otherwise because you’ll pay much more than the original price.

Ding! Ding! Ding! Duh! That’s what interest and credit is all about. Seeing the actual number snapped me back into reality.

Consumer credit debt is not a game. It’s real. Spending that money on debt repayments keeps me from achieving other goals. It’s making me mad knowing how much debt repayment eats up my paychecks.

I worked on a good amount of freelance pieces and got a handsome check that has kept me sane. There’s more where that came from, thank goodness! In November, my bank account didn’t completely dry up after paying bills. I love the feeling of having more money than I’ve ever let stay in my checking account.

What’s interesting is that I paid bills on Black Friday while everyone was making it rain. Gosh! What a great antidote to spending!

I downloaded the statements from my remaining credit cards and recalculated my Debt Dash Plan. Focus is the key in 2015. I caught up on some of my favorite financial blogs and joined The Budgetnista’s Facebook group. I loved this picture from another member: “You Save Even More Money If You Don’t Buy Anything!”

YouSaveByNotBuying

Ain’t that the truth, Ruth?!

On the other hand, my mother and aunts made it their job to spend. They left the house at 9 a.m. and came back around 6 p.m.

They came in with tons of bags, and I’m thinking to myself, “Why is my mom spending something at every turn? Did she hit the lotto and not tell us?”

I’m making steps to avoid that path. Today, I visited the HR department and doubled my automatic deductions to my savings and increased by HSA contributions a smidgen. And it’s time to set other goals for 2015.

Baby steps. Baby steps.

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